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Brewer: My heart broke after hearing about McCain cancer comment

(Flickr/Gage Skidmore and AP photos)


PHOENIX — Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said it broke her heart when she heard news of a White House official’s inappropriate remark about U.S. Sen. John McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis.

“I don’t know the situation as it played out but when I heard it my heart just broke. It really, really hurt,” she told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac and Gaydos. 

“As a mother who lost a child and as a daughter who lost her mother to cancer, that was pretty hurtful and I felt bad about it.”

Special assistant Kelly Sadler allegedly said it did not matter whether the Arizona senator opposed Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s nominee for CIA director, because “he’s dying anyway.”

The comment was reportedly made during an internal meeting on May 10.

“I know a little about Kelly Sadler; She’s very professional and always very kind to me. I found it strange that those words would come out of her mouth for whatever the reason,” Brewer said.

Sadler, who is still employed at the White House, reportedly called Meghan McCain, the senator’s daughter, to apologize, but has not done so publicly. The White House did not deny the remark and has also not apologized for it.

Brewer said it was “the right thing” for Sadler to apologize to Meghan McCain, but said the comment was disappointing nonetheless.

“I was very disappointed, I have been a friend with John and Cindy their whole lives, since they been here,” she said.

“John and I started our careers together and he’s a hero in my eyes — I love him, I love him. And I just only pray and wish him the best.”

McCain, a 81-year-old former Navy pilot, has been fighting cancer since he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer, in July 2017.

The typical survival period after a diagnosis is 12 to 15 months, though a small percentage live longer than five years.

Trump himself has not commented on the remark, outside of expressing disdain for the “traitors and cowards” who leaked the comment.

In a tweet earlier this week, Trump said the “leaks coming out of the White House are a massive over exaggeration put out by the Fake News Media in order to make us look as bad as possible.”

He added of the leakers: “We will find out who they are!”

A number of Senate Republicans who sat down at a lunch with Trump on Tuesday defended their decision to not bring up the smear or the president’s refusal to apologize for it.

“That’s not what we do in those meetings,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told The Washington Post.

But Brewer said if given the opportunity, she would confront the president about the comment.

“If I have that opportunity to speak with the president, I think I will ask him and maybe he will answer me.”

The Arizona Republican said at the end of the day, everyone needs to pray for McCain.

“We need to regroup and we have to remember that he is from Arizona,” she said.

“For those of us who know him and love him, we need to pray for him. For those who don’t know him, they still need to pray for him and his family and pray that he gets a miracle. I do it every night for him.”

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